Home Advantage in Sports

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Home field or court advantage doesn’t always mean talking about who wins most often at home. That’s part of it.  But, what we really want to quantify when handicapping sports is how much it influences the score.  The best way to figure this out is to compare the home/road splits from comparable schedules.  This gives us an idea of how many points teams “deserve” as their home field/court edge.

We’ll take a brief look at each sport here.  If you want to go into further details we do have links to our more in-depth analysis on each sport.


Home field advantage in football is affected by many factors.  The obvious factor people look at is stadium size and crowd noise.  But, one thing a lot of people take for granted is travel distance. Teams usually have a bigger edge when opponents have to travel a long distance. This isn’t a direct correlation, but it’s a good rule of thumb. Surprisingly, many of the teams considered the “best” teams have weak home field edges.  This is because it doesn’t matter where these teams play, they always perform at a high level.  The information provided in the links below will explain this phenomenon in more detail.  Plus, we have the exact edges we have calculated for every team.


In basketball the home court advantage can also be influenced by many factors.  Travel distance has a huge impact, even more so than in football. That’s because teams often have a short turnaround time in-between games.  It is hard for most bettors to grasp how each team’s edge is different.  This is especially true in college basketball.  Think about it.  Can you really say that Kansas has the same home court upper hand as Marshall? How many people do you think watch Jayhawk home games compared to the Thundering Herd?  Understand that home court varies between teams, conferences and divisions.  Then you will be able to actually use your knowledge to your benefit.


The upper hand for playing at home in baseball is different.  There is a strategic advantage to batting last.  There are also a large number of games in each season.  Teams play games in home and away series, which is much different than in any other sport.  Travel affects baseball teams, but not as much because they are staying in the same city for several days in a row.  You may be surprised which teams are better at home.  The link below will go much deeper into what home fields help their teams more than others in Major League Baseball.


In hockey there are several factors that can influence home ice advantage.  Distance between NHL cities can impact how much of an upper hand a team has. Other factors include subtleties of the ice itself, arena layout, and fan attendance/passion.

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